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Puerto Vallarta On Your Own


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The 10 Top Things to do in Puerto Vallarta


Puerto Vallarta offers tons of things to do, no matter your age, mobility level, budget or interests. Have a great day in Puerto Vallarta!

  1. Take the boat headed straight for Las Caletas. Las Caletas is a really wonderful place to spend your day in Puerto Vallarta.

  2. Go swimming with a dolphin. The two dolphin parks in Puerto Vallarta offer a variety of programs for every interest and budget.

  3. Enjoy a great meal. The restaurants in Puerto Vallarta run from the humble to the sophisticated, but they all serve up some delicious food.

  4. Enjoy a Day Pass at a local resort. Enjoy all the food, drink and play that you want for a special low price.

  5. Explore downtown Puerto Vallarta on foot. From the cathedral to the malecon to the shops and restaurants in the Romantic District, the streets of Puerto Vallarta were meant to be walked.

  6. Exert yourself on a Canopy Tour. Puerto Vallarta's got six amazing canopy tours to choose from.

  7. Exercise your shopping gene. Whether you're looking for some special folk art or just a souvenir, Puerto Vallarta is a great place to shop.

  8. Get down and dirty on an ATV Adventure. There's lots to explore in the hills and valleys of the Sierra Madre mountains.

  9. Go horseback riding in the Sierra Madre. The scenery's spectacular, and you can even enjoy a swim in a waterfall to cool you off on some tours.

  10. Set off on a snorkeling and sailing adventure. Sail a yacht on beautiful Banderas Bay, then explore the undersea world of Puerto Vallarta on an amazing snorkeling trip.
Sand Sculpture
© 2008 CPI Ventures


Getting Around


Orientation

Cruise Terminal at Puerto Vallarta

Your ship will dock in the Marina Vallarta Maritime Terminal, about three miles north of downtown. Some ships, however, will anchor in the harbor, and passengers must use the ship's tender. Check with your cruise line to determine your circumstances.

The Maritime Terminal is in the middle of Banderas Bay. To the south is the city of Puerto Vallarta, about 3 miles away. To the north is the airport, Nuevo Vallarta, where you'll find a string of high-rise hotels hugging the beach, and Riviera Nayarit, a new resort area.

Directly south of the Marina is the Hotel Zone, which stretches for about 2 1/2 miles. As you continue south, you'll come to Centro, or the downtown area; this is where you'll find the zocalo and the pretty cathedral.

The southern border of the Centro area is the Rio Cuale, which is crossed by two bridges bookending Isla Cuale and its outdoor market. The arty district of Olas Altas (also called the Old Town or the Romantic Zone) is just south of the Isla Cuale. Restaurants abound in this area, as well as along the seashore.

Taxis Taxis are probably the easiest way to get around Puerto Vallarta.

There are two kinds of taxi cabs in Puerto Vallarta: those at the Maritime Terminal are usually vans that can only be boarded at the harbor (or airport). They charge a set rate per passenger.

City cabs are mostly Nissan yellow sedans, and they charge by the ride, not by passenger. The fare is negotiable, so be sure to agree on the fare before you board the cab.

Bus Service The bus service in Puerto Vallarta runs a variety of routes using older, somewhat banged-up vehicles. The current fare is $5 pesos per ticket, and passengers must purchase a new ticket every time they board another bus (i.e., there are no transfers). The rate for longer distances, such as to Mismaloya, is $5.5 pesos. You really do need exact change.

Car Rental Because of the amount of time your ship spends in Puerto Vallarta, renting a car is a real option here. But it may prove even easier to just rent a van and a driver for the day.


Tipping in Puerto Vallarta


Tipping in General

Tipping

There are few hard and fast rules about tipping in Mexico. Tipping is customary, but in most situations, not required. Tips can be paid in either dollars (bills, no US coins) or in pesos, but tipping in pesos saves the recipient a trip to the Casa de Cambio (foreign exchange shop).

Restaurants

It is customary to offer your waiter or waitress a tip of 10% to 20% of the bill (la cuenta) if you feel that you have received good service. Some restaurants will add a 10% service charge to your bill, so check before automatically adding your tip.

Bars

An appropriate tip in a bar is one dollar per drink, or 10% to 15% of the total bar tab.

Taxi Cabs

It isn't customary to provide a tip to taxi drivers, unless they assist with your luggage; if so, plan on tipping 10 pesos per bag.

Tour Guides

If you are happy with your tour guide, a tip of 10% to 20% of the total cost of the tour is appropriate.


Shopping


Puerto Vallarta's shops offer a good variety of handicrafts and souvenirs. Almost every handcraft produced in Mexico is sold in this port town, including folk art, masks, clothing and textiles, shawls, ceramics, blown glass, silver and wood carvings.

What's Special in Puerto Vallarta

Ceramic frog

Goods produced locally, including folk art, leather sandals, hand made cotton clothing and artisanal tequilas.

Recommended Shops in Puerto Vallarta

See our Map of Recommended Puerto Vallarta Shops for the locations of the shops listed below.

Mercado de Isla Cuale
Gifts and Souvenirs

This pleasant outdoor market stretches the length of Cuale Island, and is set among old trees siding the river. You'll find a variety of products being sold, including clothing, gifts and souvenirs. You've got to bargain; start with 50% off, and you're getting a good deal if you end up knocking about 25% off the original price.
On Cuale Island
Open 9:00 am to 9:00 pm

Municipal Market (Flea Market)
Regional arts and crafts

For truly devoted shoppers, no trip to Puerto Vallarta can be complete without visiting the Municipal Market, the two-story flea market where you can find just about anything. You've got to bargain, and you're getting a good deal if you can knock about 20% off the original price. Items of special interest are leather goods, pottery and woven items. Expect to pay cash. And if your spouse is in tow, but bored silly, he can go across the street to the outdoor restaurant and enjoy a cold beer.
Insurgentes Street at the bridge
Open daily 10:00 am to 10:00 pm

Mundo de Azulejos
Talavera tiles

Mundo de Azulejos is the only Talavera tile producing factory in Puerto Vallarta. They offer factory tours, where you can learn about the processes used to create a variety of artistic tiles for kitchens, baths or terraces. The factory also produces quality handcrafted pottery. The store offers worldwide delivery.
Open Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Accepts Amex, Visa and MasterCard
374 Venustiano Carranza

Arte Magico Huichol
Arts and Crafts of the Huichol tribe

A selection of yarn paintings by shaman Jose Benitez Sanchez of the Huichol Indian tribe. Additional folk art from the The Huichol, who live in nearby Nayarit, is on display, including beaded ceramic bowls, eggs, animal figures and jaguar heads.
Open daily 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
Accepts Visa and MasterCard
Corona 179

Alfareria Tlaquepaque
Souvenirs and artwork

A Puerto Vallarta institution since 1953. Tlaquepaque has a large selection of ceramics and other folk art items, including pre-Hispanic figures, vases, cups, glasses and scads of other quality Mexican handcrafted items.
Open Monday through Saturday 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, Sunday 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Accepts Amex, Visa and MasterCard
Ave Mexico 1100

Malecon
Tequila stores

Puerto Vallarta's seaside Malecon is not only a pleasant walk, but you'll find a number of shops selling boutique tequilas made in the area. They will offer you a sample of their wares, and provide the packing materials so you can safely bring it back home in your luggage.

Recommended Pharmacies in Puerto Vallarta

Pharmacy

Pharmacies (or "Farmacias") can be found on almost every street or street corner in Puerto Vallarta. If you're thinking about buying your prescription drugs in Mexico (where they can be up to 50% cheaper than in the United States), this helpful article is a good primer on what to look for and what to expect.

Farmacia Olas Altas
Farmacia Olas Altas is a family-owned pharmacy run by Federico (Freddie) Lopez Casco, who has been a practicing Pharmacist in the Vallarta community for over 35 years. Freddie speaks fluent English.
Open 9:00 am to 10:00 pm Monday through Saturday, and 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Sunday.
Location: Olas Altas No. 465, in the Romantic Zone
Tel: +52 (322) 222-2374

Farmacias Guadalajara
Farmacias Guadalajara is a large, well-known and respected pharmacy in Puerto Vallarta with offices throughout Mexico.
Open 24 hours
Location: Lazaro Cardenas 232, in the Romantic Zone
Tel: +52 (322) 224-1811

CMQ Farmacia
CMQ Farmacias is a large, well-known and respected pharmacy in Puerto Vallarta.
Open 24 hours
Location: Basilio Badillo 365, in the Romantic Zone
Tel: +52 (322) 222-1330


Jalisco Cuisine


Called the "most Mexican" of states of Mexico, Jalisco is the home of mariachi music and tequila. Geographically, the state is quite diverse, with a narrow coastal zone, the Sierra Madre mountains to the east, then temperate central valleys featuring lakes, highlands and lowlands. Guadalajara, the capital, is in the center of the state.

The cuisine of Jalisco comprises a mosaic of dishes that changes with the terrain. In the coastal area you will find many traditional fish dishes, such as pescado zarandeado, a charcoal grilled fish. As Jalisco climbs east toward the Sierra Madre mountains, ranch cooking predominates. Pozole, Mexico's pork and hominy stew, originated here as did birria, mutton or goat prepared in an adobo sauce and served in a rich tomato and meat broth.

Food in Jalisco is often accompanied by tequila with a chaser of sangrita. Diners frequently finish their meal with the classic Jaliscan dessert, jericalla, a sweet custard.

Traditional Jalisco dishes include:

Pozole
  • Pozole: thick, hominy-based soup with hunks of pork, tomato, cilantro and garbanzos

  • Birria: stewed goat or pork in thick, spicy tomato broth

  • Sopa de Elote: sweet corn soup

  • Caviar de Carpa (Lake Chapala area): carp caviar

  • Ancas de Rana al Mojo de Ajo (Lake Chapala area): frog legs in garlic sauce

  • Pico de Gallo: appetizer accompanying tequila, consisting of small squares of jicama, orange sections, lemon juice, all sprinkled with flakes of chili piquin

  • Jericalla: a sweet custard flavored with cinnamon and vanilla

Traditional beverages of Jalisco include:

  • Sangrita: sweetened orange juice with ground onion, chili pepper, salt and vegetable coloring

  • Tejuino: fermented from corn, with alcohol added

Cuisine in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta offers a wide variety of restaurants featuring Mexican and international cuisine. The city has become a gourmet dining destination, and hosts the Mexican Gastronomy Fair held each November. Yet the town retains the laid-back feel of a traditional fishing village, where a meal of simply prepared seafood can be a heavenly experience. Banderas Bay offers chefs a good selection and variety of seafood, including black marlin, tuna, shellfish and octopus.

 

Restaurants


Recommended Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

Tortilla Soup

See our Recommended Puerto Vallarta Restaurants Map for the locations of the restaurants listed below.

La Palapa Restaurant
International
Great service and delicious food complement the restaurant's casual yet elegant ambience. This is one of the most popular restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. Accepts Amex, Visa and MasterCard.
Pulpito 103, on Playa de los Muertos
Open daily, 9:00 am to 11:00 pm
Tel: +52 (322) 222-5225

Cafe des Artistes
French
Excellent French and Mexican cuisine with attentive service in an avant garde setting. Good wine selection. Full bar. Accepts Amex, Visa and MasterCard.
Guadalupe Sanchez 740
Open daily 6:00 pm to 11:30 pm.
Tel: +52 (322) 222-3228

Kaiser Maximilian Restaurant & Cafe
Continental
Beautiful small restaurant with European and Austrian contemporary and traditional cuisine. A favorite is the signature Braised Baby Lamb Strips with rosemary and local poblano chile. Their cakes, ice cream and coffee are a very good finish to your meal. The European ambience is complemented by a romantic terrace overlooking the street.
Olas Altas 380-B, in the Romantic Zone
Open Monday through Saturday, 8:00 am to 11:00 pm
Tel: +52 (322) 223-0760

Hacienda Alemana
German
Open for lunch and dinner, this restaurant offers a variety of fresh salads, vegetarian dishes, delicious fish and seafood, and all of your traditional German favorites. Dine al fresco on the garden patio or in the air-conditioned indoor dining room. No credit cards.
Basilio Badillo #378, on Restaurant Row
Open daily from 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Tel: +52 (322) 222-2071

Le Kliff
Seafood
Perched on the edge of a cliff, Le Kliff is renowned for its excellent service and contemporary Mexican cuisine with Asian accents. You will dine under a giant palapa with a fantastic ocean view. Recognized as "the most beautiful restaurant in Mexico" by Mexicana Airlines. Full bar. Reservations required. Accepts Visa and MasterCard.
South shore Km 17.5, near Mismaloya
Open daily 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Tel: +52 (322) 224-0975

El Andariego
Mexican
Just a few blocks up from the Malecon, El Andariego's menu offers good Mexican food and excellent, attentive service at reasonable prices. Full bar. Accepts Amex, Visa and MasterCard
Avenida Mexico 1358
Open daily 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
Tel: +52 (322) 223-2100

El Arrayan
Mexican
Traditional Mexican food. If you're looking for authentic Mexican cuisine, you'll surely enjoy the wonderful flavors created from fresh ingredients. Vegetarian menu available. Recognized as the best Mexican restaurant in Puerto Vallarta.
Allende 344, Centro
Open Wednesday to Monday from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Tel: +52 (322) 222-7195

La Ronda
International
Good international and Mexican food. A favorite of the locals.
Aquiles Serdan 372, just east of Insurgentes.
Open 1:00 pm to midnight. Closed Mondays.

Mariscos Polo
Seafood
Excellent Seafood, reasonable prices and good service make Mariscos Polo one of the best seafood places in Puerto Vallarta.
Francisco Madero 376, around the corner from Cine Bahia.
Open Wednesday through Monday, noon to 10:00 pm. Closed for month of August.
Tel: +52 (322) 113-0364

River Cafe
Continental
Wonderful ambiance in a riverside setting, with gourmet food. Accepts Amex, Visa and MasterCard
Isla Rio Cuale local 4
Open daily 9:00 am to 11:30 pm
Tel: +52 (322) 223-0788


Activities, Tours & Excursions


Additional tours

Tour Companies

America's Cup racing

There is a lot to do in Puerto Vallarta, and there are a just few companies that dominate the tour business here. Vallarta Adventures is the largest, offering everything from America's Cup Racing to Whale Watching tours. They also run the Dolphin Adventure park, and own a 99-year lease on Las Caletas.

You can buy your tickets directly from Vallarta Adventures over the internet; you may even receive a discount. You can also walk down the streets of Puerto Vallarta and be offered the same tours at discounted prices.

Private Tour Guides

Countryside

Using the services of a private tour guide can be a good alternative for larger groups. Ibarra Puerto Vallarta Tours provides air-conditioned vans, complete with a stereo and cooler, that can accommodate groups of up to 8 people. They offer several set tours, plus you can also arrange custom itineraries for your day in Puerto Vallarta.

Resort Day Passes

The Crown Paradise Club Puerto Vallarta offers Day Passes (from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm daily) at their resort facility, located just south of the Cruise Ship Terminal at the beginning of the hotel zone. It's within easy walking distance, so you don't have to hail a taxi to get there.

The resort features a buffet restaurant, three specialty restaurants and two snack bars. In addition, you'll find three bars, a giant Jacuzzi with a swim-up bar, and a sports bar with a game room area featuring Nintendo Wii and X-Box consoles for the entire family.

For water enthusiasts, the resort features an activities pool and a water park with a pirate ship, castle and nine water slides. Other amenities include tennis courts, a daytime entertainment program including aqua-aerobics, beach volleyball, cooking lessons, bartending lessons, yoga, spinning, stationary bicycles, a Baby Paradise Club, Kids Club and much more. WIFI is available in all public areas (with a prepaid card purchased at the front desk), and the resort also features an air-conditioned internet center.

The regular price for the Day Pass is US$75 per person (kids aged 7 to 12 are US$25, and under 7 are free). Day Pass includes: wristband access to the facilities, use of the beach and beach chairs, day activities, lunch, snacks and drinks. If you require a day room, the price is US$140 for the period 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. You don't need to make a reservation; when you get to the Hotel, just ask for a Day Pass at the front desk.

SPECIAL CRUISE PORT INSIDER DISCOUNT: The resort is offering a 50% discount for all adult cruise passengers who mention CruisePortInsider at the front desk; this special discount is available from January 22 to April 16, and from May 5 to July 11, and from August 14 to December 17, 2011. During the summer months--from July 11 to August 13--the discount is 20%. (This offer is capacity controlled by occupancy levels and may not apply.)

Location: Avenida Paseo de las Garzas S/N, Zona Hotelera Norte
Email: prcrownpv@crownparadise.com
Tel: +52 (322) 226 68 68

Enjoy the Mexican hospitality of the Krystal Puerto Vallarta, a 25 acre hacienda-style resort with 2½ miles of golden sand beachfront, beautiful Colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, Mexican aqueducts, 3 large pools and over 40 bubbling fountains. Located in the heart of the Hotel district, the Krystal Puerto Vallarta is an easy 5-minute walk from the Cruise Terminal. The hotel features two swim up bars, a buffet and a la carte beachfront restaurant and poolside snack bar. Additional amenities of the resort include a full service spa with steam rooms, gym, outdoor Jacuzzis, tennis courts and water sports (equipment rental is at an additional cost). Wireless internet access is also available, at an additional cost.

The Krystal Puerto Vallarta's day passes come in two flavors:

An all-inclusive pass, good from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, includes access to the hotel's pools, beach and other facilities, as well as food and national beverages from the resort's Las Velas buffet and a la carte beachfront restaurant, poolside Snack Bar, and two swim up bars. SPECIAL CRUISE PORT INSIDER RATE: The cost is US$50 for adults and children.

An access only pass, good from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm, includes access to the hotel's pools, beach and other facilities. The cost is $250 pesos per person, and comes with $250 pesos credit for food and beverages within the resort. All expenditures above $250 pesos are the responsibility of the guest.

No reservations are necessary. You can purchase either of the day passes at the front desk; just show your cruise card and mention CruisePortInsider. (This offer is capacity controlled by occupancy levels and may not apply.)

Location: Avenida de las Garzas S/N, Zona Hotelera Norte
E-mail: nhpuertovallarta@nh-hotels.com
Tel: +52 (322) 226-0700

ATV Adventures

ATV

Vallarta Adventures offers their Offroad Adventure tour that will take you by Unimog into the remote, traditional villages of the Mexican Outback and uncover the ecosystem and wildlife of the mountains and jungles of the Sierra Madre. En route, you will visit a local Mexican home, where you'll savour freshly prepared corn tortillas, beans and salsas hand-made on the spot by the resident matriarch. You'll then venture deeper in the forest vegetation, where their expert eco-guides take you on a 45-minute educational nature hike, inspiring you to explore the wonderful flora and fauna tucked away under the canopy of the jungle. The tour ends with an open bar and an al fresco lunch freshly prepared by your guides. Here you can kick back and relax on the white sands of the private secluded beach or cool off in the waves of Banderas Bay. The cost of this 7½-hour tour is $78 per person. Tour includes snacks, a barbeque lunch by the beach and open bar.

Puerto Vallarta Tours by Johann and Sandra offer an ATV Jungle Trek tour in which you'll take a journey aboard a well-maintained ATV deep into the Sierra Madre. You'll pass through Mexican towns, race up remote dirt roads, and plow through water hazards on your way to a swimming hole with a small waterfall where you can refresh yourself. You can have drinks (not included) at a small cafe and relax for a few minutes before boarding the ATVs again. You'll have panoramic views of the jungle-draped hillsides, and pass rivers and valleys before stopping at a riverside restaurant for lunch or drinks (not included), or just to relax by the rivers edge before heading back to the tour office. The cost of this 3-hour tour is $68 for a 1-person ATV, or $86 for a 2-person ATV. Tour includes roundtrip ground transportation from their offices, helmets, goggles and a bandana.

Canopy Tours

Zipline

Vallarta Adventures offers their Canopy Adventure Park tour that takes you into the heart of the virgin tropical forest of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Just 45 minutes northeast of Puerto Vallarta lays the only true treetop canopy and adventure eco-tour in all of the area. On this exhilarating journey you'll explore high above the jungle floor via zip lines, suspended walkways and platforms, by scaling the Crazy Ladder and descending via rappels. The cost of this tour is $75 per person for adults, and $52 per person for kids. Tour includes roundtrip ground transportation from their offices, bottled water and light snacks.

The Los Veranos Canopy Tour will take you from their offices in downtown Puerto Vallarta to their canopy facility in an air-conditioned van or open-air Mercedes jungle cruiser. You'll zip from tree to tree on a total of 14 cables, with the longest cable 1,300 feet long. You'll travel at speeds of up to 30 mph. over a dramatic river gorge. The final cable shoots you over the river rapids to their riverside palapa bar. The cost of this 4½-hour tour is $79 per person for adults, and $58 per person for kids. Tour includes roundtrip ground transportation from their offices, bottled water, soda and light snacks. Cruise ship passengers should book tours that leave from the Canopy Tour Office at 10:45 am or later, depending on the time your cruise ship leaves Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta Tours by Johann and Sandra offer an El Eden Canopy Tour that will take you 30 minutes south of the city to El Eden, the site of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Movie, Predator. This tour has no tree platforms or bridges to cross - all zip lines are from platforms on natural ground. You'll fly high over waterfalls, forests and jungle with the greatest of ease on over 2 miles of zip lines. You are welcome to stay around after the tour to swim in the waterfall pool or dine at the El Eden Jungle Restaurant. A photo of you on your tour is available for purchase after the tour. Free Tequila Tastings and tour top off the activity. The cost of this 4½-hour tour is $73 per person for adults, and $64 per person for kids. Tour includes roundtrip ground transportation from their offices, English speaking guides, lockers, bottled water, Tequila Tour and Tasting and use of the area for swimming or dining at the El Eden Jungle Seafood Restaurant (food is not included in the price of the tour).

Puerto Vallarta Tours by Johann and Sandra offer an La Vista Canopy Tour in which you'll be taken high atop the highest mountain in Puerto Vallarta, where you'll be treated to panoramic views of Banderas Bay and the jungle below. You'll glide effortlessly along 13 zip lines, high above the valley floor. After the canopy tour, you can relax in the riverside restaurant with a beer or margarita, swim in the river, or take a nature walk along its banks. The cost of this 4-hour tour is $56 per person for adults, and $30 per person for kids. Tour includes roundtrip ground transportation from their offices, English speaking guides, equipment, gloves and water.

Puerto Vallarta Tours by Johann and Sandra offer an Rio Cuale Canopy Tour. Higher, longer, and faster than any canopy tour west of the Sierra Madre, the Cuale River Canopy tour is a spectacle to behold, particularly in rainy season, when the trees are their greenest and the foliage at its most lush. Over one and a quarter miles of zip lines await you, up to 600 feet in the air with the longest line stretching over a quarter mile long. After your tour, you can meet the original homesteaders of the area and enjoy refreshments (optional) at their bar, located high atop this beautiful mountain range. The cost of this 4-hour tour is $59 per person for adults, and $32 per person for kids. Tour includes roundtrip ground transportation from their offices, English speaking guides, equipment, gloves and water.

Puerto Vallarta Tours by Johann and Sandra offer an Mundo Nogalito Canopy Tour that features a network of 12 zip lines, including one tandem line so you can race to the finish. The Mundo Nogalito zip lines are up to 850 feet long, and up to 250 feet high. The canopy is set in a 99 acre natural reserve, which also features a beautiful botanical garden, countless hiking trails and a tequila distillery. After your zip lines adventure, you can swim in the river, admire the botanical gardens and learn how tequila is made at the tequila factory. The cost of this 4-hour tour is $60 per person for adults, and $38 per person for kids. Tour includes roundtrip ground transportation from their offices, English speaking guides, equipment, gloves, tequila tour &; tasting and water.

Dolphins

Dolphin

Swimming with dolphins is an unforgettable experience. In Puerto Vallarta there two aquatic parks that give you the extraordinary opportunity of interacting with the Pacific bottlenose dolphins.

Dolphin Adventure Center is owned by Vallarta Adventures. The park is located in Nuevo Vallarta adjacent to the Nuevo Vallarta Marina, a short drive from the Maritime Terminal.

Aquaventuras Park (formerly known as Sea Life Park), also located in Nuevo Vallarta, offers a number of interactive dolphin experiences.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding

Puerto Vallarta Tours by Johann and Sandra offer a Rancho Capomo Ride that will take you into the tropical rain forest of the Sierra Madre and the village of Las Palmas for an ecological ride that will make your trip. You'll embark down a jungle trail, laden with beautiful tropical foliage. You'll visit a beautiful waterfall, where you'll be invited to swim in the fresh cascades and pools below, cross remote rivers of amazing shapes and sizes, and enjoy Cervezas while watching the beauty unfold in front of you. At the end of the tour, you'll be treated to a real Mexican lunch before returning to Puerto Vallarta. The cost of this 6-hour tour is $68 per person for adults, and $34 per person for kids. Tour includes roundtrip ground transportation from their offices, English speaking guides, Cafe de Olla (Mexican coffee), a 3-hour horseback ride, swimming in a waterfall, Mexican Lunch, soft drinks and beer.

Las Caletas

Palm trees

This enclave on the southern shore of Banderas Bay is only accessible by boat. The trip is about an hour away from Puerto Vallarta. Las Caletas was once the home of John Huston, so it has a little stardust. You can do as little or as much as you want here; take a guided nature walk, relax at the hilltop spa, snorkel and dive with sea lions, or just hang out on the beach in a hand-woven hammock under the shade of palm trees.

Vallarta Adventures offers their Las Caletas Beach Hideaway tour that will take you to Las Caletas aboard a first class catamaran to the beautiful Las Caletas enclave. Throughout the day their guides will be on hand to offer snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking tours, giving everyone the chance to discover and explore the calm, clear waters and hidden charms of this isolated cove. Away from the water there's an abundance of other activities: learn how to cook paella, discover Las Caletas' prolific flora and bird life on a walk through the jungle, see the orchid gardens and venture into the interactive parrot center. The cost of this 7-hour tour is $85 per person for adults, and $70 per person for kids. The tour includes round trip transportation, continental breakfast, buffet lunch, open bar, snorkeling and kayaking equipment, guided nature walk, parrot encounter, yoga lesson and paella cooking class.

Malecon/Sea Walk

tequila

The Malecon sea walk is a fun way to explore Puerto Vallarta's beaches. Check out the bronze sculptures dotting the shoreline, and take in some of the stores, bars and restaurants. You can also do some parasailing or hop on a boat for a trip on the bay.

Rhythms of the Night Show

Torches

Las Caletas by night becomes the mystic setting for this dance show. After a romantic sunset cruise, you will be taken to a beach where shimmering torches light your way to a spectacle of dance, song and mysticism. Arrange your show tickets through Vallarta Adventures, which produces the show.

Vallarta Adventures offers their Rhythms of the Night tour that takes you on a voyage of discovery, transporting you to a mystical and spiritual land that time forgot. Your adventure begins with a scenic ocean cruise across Banderas Bay to the isolated cove of Las Caletas. Once on shore, you'll follow a torchlit trail past re-enactments of ancient rituals and customs. Enticing aromas of freshly grilled steak, chicken and fish lure you towards your private beachside table bathed in the soft glow of candles. The dinner buffet is complimented by freshly prepared vegetables, salads, authentic handmade tortillas and dessert. The show is a hypnotic and exhilarating spectacle; stories of an ancient civilization are told through live music and modern dance as one of Mexico's most innovative contemporary dance troupes. After the show, end a perfect evening with a nightcap and dancing beneath the stars on the short cruise back to your point of departure. The cost of this 5-hour tour is $89 per person. The tour includes round trip sunset cruise, open bar, candlelight dinner and contemporary dance show at the pyramid amphitheater.

Snorkel and Sailing

Snorkeler

Vallarta Adventures offers their Yelapa and Majahuitas snorkeling, swimming and kayaking tour. In the morning, you'll leave Puerto Vallarta aboard our luxury catamaran and head for the peaceful and isolated cove of Majahuitas, situated on the southern coast of the bay. Here you can swim, snorkel and kayak to your heart's content. After lunch aboard the catamaran, you'll head for the fishing village of Yelapa, where you can hike through the jungle to the Cola de Caballo waterfalls, go for a swim in crystal clear waters or just kick-back and bury your toes in the sand of its expansive beach. The cruise back to Puerto Vallarta with an open bar and festive atmosphere. The cost of this 7-hour tour is $55 per person for adults, and $39 for kids. The tour includes continental breakfast, lunch, open bar on board and snorkeling and kayaking equipment.

Puerto Vallarta Tours by Johann and Sandra offer a Los Arcos Snorkeling half-day sailing tour that will take you past Puerto Vallarta, getting great photo opportunities on your way to enjoy snorkeling at the Los Arcos marine park. Afterwards, feast on snacks and enjoy an adult beverage from the open bar as you sail back to port. The cost of this 4-hour tour is $50 per person for adults, and $20 per person for kids. Tour includes continental breakfast, snacks, open bar, snorkeling equipment, soft drinks and sailing (weather permitting).

Walking Tour of Downtown

Puerto Vallarta church

Don't go to Puerto Vallarta without visiting the Centro, or downtown area. The red-tiled houses along the central streets house chic art galleries, clothing boutiques and shops selling interesting folk art, and the palm-lined seafront Malecon is filled with bars and discos. On the main square, Plaza de Armas, you'll find the Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe church and the modern Palacio Municipal, which also houses a helpful tourist office. It's a short walk up a steep walkway to Casa Kimberly, the erstwhile home of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (it has been operating as a B & B, and is now undergoing refurbishment).

South of the Centro is the Rio Cuale, and then the Olas Altas area, also known as the Romantic Zone. Here you'll find lots of upscale restaurants, bars, art galleries and other shops located in older turn-of-the-century buildings.

Water Sports

Parasailing

Bahia Banderas is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. In Puerto Vallarta, you can do some windsurfing, deep sea fishing, diving, snorkeling, yachting, kayaking and parasailing. Check Vallarta Adventures for its water sports offerings.











Whale Watching

Whale

Whale watching expeditions in Banderas Bay get close enough so you can see mothers swimming with their young. With some luck a curious a baby will approach the boat and you'll be able to touch them. Arrange your whale watching tour through Vallarta Adventures.

Vallarta Adventures offers their Whale Watching Photo Safari tour that takes you to sea on their new all-weather inflatable speed boats. Guided by talented marine mammal behavior experts who are passionate about protecting wildlife and the environment, you'll follow the whales across Banderas Bay while the guides' knowledge and insight will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation for the wildlife that you'll encounter. This trip is available from December 8 through March 23. The cost of this 4-hour tour is $85 per person for adults, and $60 for kids. The tour includes snacks, soda and water.

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